The future is looking increasingly electric, with both Amazon and Walmart announcing major investments in their electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure. As part of the White House’s new EV Acceleration Challenge, Amazon has announced an expansion in its efforts to electrify its fleet of delivery vehicles, while Walmart said it plans to have its own fast-charging network of EV stations at thousands of Walmart and Sam’s Clubs locations across the country by 2030.
Amazon Continues on the Path to Electric Delivery
As part of President Biden’s goal of having 50% of all new vehicle sales be electric by 2030, the White House unveiled the first set of public and private commitments to support the country’s transition to EVs. According to the White House, EV sales have tripled and the number of publicly available charging ports has grown by over 40% since Biden took office, with the country now boasting more than 3 million EVs on the road and more than 132,000 public EV chargers.
At least 3,000 of those EVs are Amazon’s custom electric delivery vehicles from Rivian, which are currently making deliveries in more than 500 cities and regions across the U.S. To date, the retailer reports that more than 75 million packages have been delivered using the zero-emission vehicles, and they will soon be arriving in a number of new towns including Cleveland and Toledo, Ohio; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Philadelphia; Santa Rosa and San Jose, Calif.; and Tampa, Fla., among others. Amazon’s previously shared goal is to have 100,000 electric delivery vehicles on the road by 2030.
President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act adds and expands tax credits for the purchase of new and used EVs. The legislation also provides incentives to electrify heavy-duty vehicles as well as support for the installation of residential, commercial and municipal EV charging infrastructures. In addition to Amazon, other companies that have joined the administration’s EV Acceleration Challenge include:
- Autonomous driving technology company Waymo, which has committed to deploying the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE across all of its ride-hailing service territories this spring and retiring its previous generation platform;
- Hertz, which has committed to substantially increase its EV rentals this year, forecasting nearly 2 million EV rentals in 2023, approximately 5X the number of EV rentals in 2022;
- Google, which has committed to providing up-to-date information about availability and coverage of tax credits across eligible passenger vehicles through a new Search tool that incorporates federal guidance to surface eligible EV tax credits alongside other critical information; and
- Wells Fargo, which is releasing a new tool to support business leaders transitioning to electric vehicle fleets by modeling deployment that incorporates the cost of electrification, tax credits, cost savings and environmental benefits.
Walmart Plans ‘Coast-to-Coast’ EV Charging Network
All those new EVs on the road are going to need places to charge, and Walmart is betting that its stores will be a prime place to do it, not least because drivers can get their shopping done or stop in for a bite to eat while their cars “juice up.”
By 2030, the company said that it intends to have fast-charging EV stations at thousands of Walmart and Sam’s Club locations, in addition to the almost 1,300 fast-charging EV stations already in place at more than 280 U.S. facilities today. True to form, the company also committed to keeping the price of charging low “to help ease transportation costs, still the second highest household cost for much of the country,” according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation.
“With a store or club located within 10 miles of approximately 90% of Americans, we are uniquely positioned to deliver a convenient charging option that will help make EV ownership possible whether people live in rural, suburban or urban areas,” said Vishal Kapadia, SVP of Energy Transformation at Walmart in a blog announcing the plans. “Easy access to on-the-go charging is a game-changer for drivers who have been hesitant to purchase an EV for concerns they won’t be able to find a charger in a clean, bright and safe location when needed. We see our commitment today as a natural extension of our work to help customers and members live better, easier and more sustainable lives.”
Other retailers boosting their EV credentials include:
- 7-Eleven, which launched the proprietary EV charging network and app 7Charge at select U.S. stores in Florida, Texas, Colorado and California in March 2023. The retailer said it plans to expand the 7Charge network into Canada as well as other U.S. locations in the future;
- Ikea, which has installed EV chargers at more than 25 stores and announced plans for a wider rollout this year;
- Pilot Flying J, which included the addition of EV charging stations as part of a $1 billion store renovation initiative announced in March 2022; and
- Giant Food, which unveiled the first two Giant Delivers electric step vans last year as it transitions its 128-vehicle fleet to include more electric vehicles over the next several years.